Culture Calendar: Top Metro Detroit Events in November 2023

The host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET offers a curated list of this month’s art and entertainment. Plus, score details on big events happening this November.
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The Akropolis Reed Quintet performs "Are We Dreaming the Same Dream?" with jazz pianist Pascal Le Boeuf and drummer Christian Euman at Ann Arbor’s UMS on Nov. 12. // Photograph courtesy of University Musical Society

Metro Detroit is always so full of events and other fun things to do that it can be tough keeping track of it all. To help you plan your weekend itineraries, we’ve asked Ryan Patrick Hooper, the host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET to share his top November happenings in the area. Plus, find save the dates for concerts, stage performances, art exhibitions, and much more.

At the Movies: The Redford Theatre Wants All Ages

There’s a stunning lack of movie theaters in Detroit. By my count, we’ve got three — the Detroit Film Theatre inside the Detroit Institute of Arts (which we’ll talk about more next month), the Bel Air Luxury Cinema on Eight Mile, and the Redford Theatre in Old Redford, which we actually had to fact-check to confirm is a Detroit neighborhood and not part of Redford (I can’t be the only one). It’s the Redford Theatre I want to celebrate for November.

Like a lot of historic institutions around here, it was saved through the hard work of volunteers, who never get enough credit. This month, I’m applauding them for offering up one of the best multigenerational lineups I’ve seen them present, keeping the classics on the big screen (Mrs. Miniver from 1942, Apocalypse Now from 1979) while bringing on films for younger audiences, who likely discovered them on DVD or streaming services and never got the chance to see them on the big screen.

These include Michel Gondry’s masterpiece Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, the Oscar-nominated O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), and the cheeky ’90s classic Addams Family Values. With so few moviegoing options in and around the city, we’ve got to celebrate the work being done to keep what we’ve got. And this month, the Redford Theatre has got something for every generation.

The historic Redford Theatre screens movies throughout the year. For more information and tickets, visit redfordtheatre.com.

Reason to Road-Trip: Ann Arbor’s UMS is Stacked This Month

There are few, if any, cultural institutions in metro Detroit — or in the country — that can match the size, scope, and range of the University Musical Society, which constitutes the University of Michigan’s art arm.

This month, it’s particularly stacked with live theater and music, starting with the Ukrainian folk-punk quartet DakhaBrakha (Nov. 3). On Nov. 12, Ann Arbor’s award-winning chamber group Akropolis Reed Quintet will perform Are We Dreaming the Same Dream? with composer and jazz pianist Pascal Le Boeuf and drummer Christian Euman. Le Boeuf’s composition harnesses inspiration from his musical predecessors — Dave Brubeck, Leonard Bernstein, and Detroit’s own Geri Allen — to ask a powerful question: “Are we really dreaming the same American dream, or is our consumer culture overshadowing our own sense of belonging?”

That sounds heavy for sure, but it should be an incredible night of music even if you don’t feel like thinking too much. I’m most excited for Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (Nov. 15-18), a multimedia theater show that was dubbed one of the best of last year by The Guardian. Consider it a deconstruction of your favorite true crime podcast and the idea of autobiographical storytelling on stage. Go in blind. You won’t regret it.

For more events at UMS this season, go to ums.org/season/2023-24-season.

Reading List: An Illustrated Look at our City History

I want to sneak in a quick highlight of the release of the second edition of local author and Hour Detroit contributor Paul Vachon’s excellent Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline, from Reedy Press. Even for the most hard-core history buffs, Vachon’s approach to bringing over 300 years of facts and images to life is fresh and welcome — especially for a city with its fair share of coffee-table books boasting about it.

To give a Detroiter in your life an overview of the city’s history spanning from French farmers to Motown and everything in between, you’ll want to add Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline to your stocking-stuffer holiday shopping list.

The second edition of Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline is out now via Reedy Press. Before shopping online, be sure to see if it’s in stock at your local independent bookstore.

On My Playlist: Where to Go and What to See in November

Last month, we focused on national acts coming to town that you should check out. For November, we’ll do half and half, starting with a long-time native and a longtime theater in Plymouth that’s finding a second wind as a live music venue.

Last year, Chris Plum put out his debut jazz album, The Small Hours, recorded in his home studio and pressed by Jack White’s Third Man Records in Detroit. He’ll perform the album alongside jazz standards on Nov. 18 at the Penn Theatre, which has shown movies for decades but now is looking to work live music into its event calendar, performed on the stage in front of its screen.

Plum will be joined by a full band. And not straying too far from a refreshed jazz sound, the classically trained musicians behind pop-jazz act Lake Street Dive are performing on Nov. 17 at the Masonic Temple. It’s a show that’ll blow your mind, thanks to the stunning vocals of Rachael Price.

More Top Metro Detroit Events in November 2023

Save the dates for comedy shows, film screenings, performances, and more

Pitbull will perform in Detroit with Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin on Nov. 3. // Photograph by Greg Watermann, courtesy of 313Presents

What the Constitution Means to Me

This acclaimed play by Heidi Schreck addresses women’s rights, immigration, domestic abuse, and the history of the United States through the lens of a 15-year-old debate student. Named “the most important” play on Broadway by The New York Times, it was nominated for two Tony Awards and was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for drama. Oct. 20-Nov. 12. $28. Theatre Nova, 410 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor; theatrenova.org.

A Live Conversation with John Cusack

This night kicks off with a screening of the cult-favorite 1997 film Grosse Pointe Blank. Shot here in metro Detroit, the movie follows assassin Martin Q. Blank as he returns to his hometown of Grosse Pointe to attend a high school reunion. Following the conclusion of the film, star John Cusack will take the stage to discuss his storied 40-year career. The actor has starred in dozens of high-profile films, including Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity, and America’s Sweethearts. Nov. 2. $49.50+. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. 4th St., Royal Oak; royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, and Ricky Martin

Three of the biggest names in global party music join forces when The Trilogy Tour stops at Little Caesars Arena this month. Featuring a headlining set from each artist, this show will bring the house down with an eclectic mix of salsa pop, dance, reggaeton, and electronic music. The three powerhouses have sold more than 275 million records combined. Nov. 3. $159+. Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.

Randy Rainbow

This comedian, singer, and YouTuber garnered a viral following during the 2016 presidential election thanks to his catchy renditions of popular Broadway numbers. The catch? Rainbow’s versions all spoof prominent conservative politicians — most notably former President Donald Trump. Highlights include “Braggadocious” (a spin on “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins) and “Ya Got Trump Trouble” (“Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man). Nov. 4. $45+. Michigan Theater, 603 Liberty St., Ann Arbor; ticketmaster.com.

Stevie Nicks

The prolific singer, songwriter, and former Fleetwood Mac vocalist will extend her acclaimed Live in Concert tour to include a stop at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena. Best known for Fleetwood Mac tracks “Everywhere,” “Dreams,” and “Go Your Own Way,” as well as her solo hit “Edge of Seventeen,” the influential songstress was the first woman to be inducted twice into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Nov. 7. $99+. Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical

Get into the holiday spirit by attending this sensational Broadway adaptation of one of the most beloved Christmas tales of all time. Hear family-favorite songs like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” as you follow the grumpy, conniving Grinch on his mission to steal Christmas from Who-ville. Vibrant sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations create an immersive holiday experience. Nov. 8-12. $30+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.

Small Works Juried All-Media Exhibition

This annual exhibition at the Northville Art House features paintings, drawings, ceramics, metalwork, photography, and sculptures measuring no more than 16 inches in any direction. Artists compete for $650 in cash prizes, and all works are for sale. A reception will kick off the display on Nov.10 from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 10-Dec. 16. No cost. Northville Art House, 215 W. Cady St., Northville; northvillearthouse.org.

Gary Gulman

After rising to fame as a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, this Massachusetts-based funnyman appeared on several late-night shows, including Late Show with David Letterman, Inside Amy Schumer, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. In 2019, Gulman opened up about his experiences with depression and anxiety in his Judd Apatow-produced HBO special, The Great Depresh. He’ll support his forthcoming book, Misfit, when he stops at the Royal Oak Music Theatre this month. Nov. 11. $36+. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. 4th St., Royal Oak; royaloakmusictheatre.com.

A Drag Queen Christmas

Hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Miz Cracker, this festive show is the longest-running drag tour in America and features everyone’s favorite queens performing live onstage. Singer Todrick Hall will also perform. VIP tickets, which include a meet and greet with the queens, are available at an extra cost. Nov. 14. $38+. The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; livenation.com.

Craig Shoemaker

Over the course of his 30-year career, this Emmy Award-winning comedian, writer, and producer has racked up numerous accolades, including the title of Comedian of the Year at the American Comedy Awards. His hit 2012 special Daditude found the comic dissecting the transition from young adulthood into parenthood — a topic he tackles frequently in his live sets. Nov. 16-18. $20+. Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 310 S. Troy St., Royal Oak; comedycastle.com.

A Christmas Carol

No holiday tale is more enduring than Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella about a greedy, uncaring miser and the ghosts that help him change his ways. Enjoy this live stage adaptation by Charles Nolte, featuring gorgeously festive sets and plenty of faux snow. The production has been a Meadow Brook Theatre Christmas tradition for more than 40 years. All ages are welcome. Nov. 17-Dec. 24. $36+. Meadow Brook Theatre, 378 Meadow Brook Road, Rochester; mbtheatre.com.

Carly Pearce

After finding radio fame with her 2017 debut track, “Every Little Thing,” this Kentucky-born country singer and songwriter went on to record three acclaimed studio albums, garnering her three Country Music Association Awards, four Academy of Country Music Awards, one CMT Music Award, and one Grammy Award. Her latest single, the fiddle-heavy “Country Music Made Me Do It,” debuted earlier this year. Nov. 18. $35+. The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; livenation.com.

David Cook

As the winner of the seventh season of American Idol, this Texas-born singer, song-writer, and musician captured viewers’ hearts with his husky, sumptuous vocal style and throwback-y blues sound. Since then, he’s released four studio albums, starred in Kinky Boots on Broadway, and appeared on dozens of TV shows, including Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live. He’ll play his newest single, “TABOS,” when he heads out on tour this fall. Nov. 19. $30. The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; theark.org.

Crash Test Dummies

This Canadian four-piece hit it big with its 1993 radio smash “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.” Thirty years later, the Grammy Award-nominated alternative rock group will tour in promotion of its latest single, “Sacred Alphabet,” which arrived in March. Catch this legacy act when it stops at The Ark for an intimate performance this month. Nov. 26. $40+. The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; theark.org.

Wolfmother

Led by vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale, this Sydney-based hard rock band blends elements of blues, neo-psychedelia, and experimental rock. The group’s 2006 self-titled debut album remains a hard rock mainstay to this day, with tracks like “Joker and the Thief” and “Woman” racking up hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify. Expect to hear the band’s latest single, “Stay a Little Longer,” when the group arrives at Saint Andrew’s Hall this month. Nov. 28. $29+. Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; livenation.com.

Frozen

Based on the Academy Award-winning animated film that took the world by storm, the North American tour of the Broadway musical brings Elsa, Anna, and everyone’s favorite chilly characters to the Detroit Opera House stage. Fans will enjoy beloved songs from the original film as well as an expanded score with a dozen new numbers, along with intricate sets, incredible special effects, and stunningly detailed costumes. Nov. 29-Dec. 17. $35+. Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway St., Detroit; broadwayindetroit.com.


This story is from the November 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.